The Future of Hospitality – Challenges and Solutions

The Future of Hospitality – Challenges and Solutions

Across the globe, the hospitality industry has been through some very tough times lately. Even before Covid, many were struggling with new legislation that required higher hygiene standards, better customer security, and staff safety. Implementing it all while dealing with rent and rate increases pushed many smaller café owners and restaurant owners to the brink.

Many of them had to close for months at a time during Covid. Unsurprisingly, 10% of the UK´s bars, restaurants, pubs, and cafes closed for good as a direct result of the lockdowns and restrictions that they had to adhere to during the pandemic.

hospitality industry

But the difficulties they have experienced in the past few years are nothing when compared to the issues that they now face. In many places, things have not gotten better, they have gotten worse. Below are a few examples of this. Along with some of the steps, those who work in the food service and hospitality industries are taking to mitigate these issues.

The Future of Hospitality – Challenges and Solutions

A lack of staff

In November 2021, a quarter of bars, restaurants, and other types of eateries said that they were having to reduce their opening hours because of staff shortages. According to The Independent Newspaper at that time, there were nearly 200,000 hospitality vacancies across the UK.

The Future of Hospitality – Challenges and Solutions - A lack of staff

The industry is adapting to this situation. Members of staff are being trained to fill a wider range of roles, which means their time can be used more wisely. Many of the people that have chosen to continue to work in hospitality like this. They have more varied jobs, higher wages, and a broader skillset which will help them to find work in the future.

Supply issues

The war in Ukraine combined with soaring fuel and power costs has quickly created a crisis in the UK farming sector. What farmers are being paid is not keeping up with their overheads. As a result, many farms are on the verge of completely going out of business. They have drastically cut how much they produce. Particularly, chicken farmers, which means far fewer eggs are available and that the relatively few that are cost far more than they did a month ago.

Bars, cafes, and restaurants are now changing their menus daily with what is available and cheap enough. We talk more about how they are managing to do this later in the article.

Higher produce costs

The fact that everything is so expensive is a huge challenge. It makes it extremely hard to come up with menu items that are cheap enough for people to be able to afford to order.

In the past, absorbing the cost of having to throw some leftover food away at the end of the day was not that difficult. Now, having to throw away a few kilos of unsold food represents a high loss for the business. So high that simply adding a few cents or pence to the price of every meal is not enough to cover it.

Higher produce costs

So understandably reducing waste is now a key target. Restaurateurs are going to the market daily, finding out what is cheapest and coming up with their menu for that day based on that. They can do this in part because they now use digital menus rather than paper ones. It only takes a few minutes to edit the previous day’s list of dishes and display it to customers. These digital menus have other advantages. It is possible to avoid disappointment with digital signs. When a dish has sold out it only takes a few keystrokes to remove it from the menu. This avoids customers being frustrated by not being able to order an item they see. It also creates the opportunity for the restaurant or café owner to reduce the price of a dish that is not selling well. Thus, enabling them to sell an item at a slightly lower profit rather than throw it all away.

The future is still bright for the hospitality industry

The above paints a bleak picture for the food service and hospitality sectors. But things are not as bad as they appear. Hotels, bars, cafes, B&Bs, restaurants, pubs, food clubs, and small food producers are adapting fast. They are using technology to help them to do this and are adopting collaborative approaches to solve big problems.

The industry has always found a way to cope. Even during The Great Depression and serious financial crises in other countries, bars, restaurants, and hotels have always managed to find ways to trade profitably. There is no reason to think that their modern counterparts will not do the same.

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Christy Bella
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